Photo Scanning Project: Update 1

Contrary to what you kids nowadays know, pictures weren’t always available immediately and already in a digital format. I have about 10 what we call “albums” that have actual printed photos in them. These were taken on “film”, which you had to buy separately from getting prints made. You also didn’t have immediate feedback, you had to take the film in (after you took the full roll, so it could be months later) to be processed.

It’s quite a bit different now where you get instant gratification. Heck, my cell phone (Google/HTC Nexus One) can take HD 720p video and is a 5 megapixel camera.

So I’ve got a couple thousand pictures to scan. You’d think by now automatic feeder scanners would be cheaper, but they are still very expensive. I’m using a flatbed wireless scanner (HP C4780) which is working out pretty well. The software is traditional HP, in other words, you have to install a couple hundred megs of software to make it work, but it does work well. The scanning software allows me to easily scan 3 photos at a time and it will store them where I want.

I’m using Picasa as my photo management software because I’ve been using it for a while now. The only thing that made it difficult was wanting to make use of it on my network, that is, I want to store my photos on my network and work from there. Unfortunately, Picasa stores some data in your “user” directory which makes it decidedly non-network friendly. Thankfully somebody has written a launcher that will make it work (see PicasaStarter).

So far I’ve scanned about 750 pictures. I’ve also started to go through and clean up my existing photo library. Picasa has a great face recognition feature which makes things really nice in terms of finding people. I’ve also been going through and geo-tagging photos which is another nice feature of Picasa.

I do like Picasa, but if anybody has any other suggestions, I’d be interested in at least looking at it.

I’m still only about a quarter of the way through, and these are just my photos. I’ve already told my mom that I’d scan her photos too. She takes a lot of pictures and has a lot of albums. Those albums would generally be of me and my brother growing up so I have some personal interest in those and while it will take a while to get done, I really want to do it.

Scanning in these pictures has been an interesting experience. Almost every one has Jon in it. It’s been tough at times. Many times I’ll stop and just look at one and remember the time it was taken. The upside is that I am remembering those times, and they were all happy times. While I wish I wasn’t doing this as a way to remember him and that I had him back, it is nice to remember the good times.

Here’s some advice that I’ve learned through doing this: Take a lot of pictures. In this day and age of digital photos, there’s no excuse not to. This not only applies to parents taking pictures of their kids, but also to adults when you’re with your parents.

You just never know when you’ll never get the chance to take another picture of your loved ones. You don’t want to regret not having more pictures.

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